Franklin County winter sports superlatives: Who performed the best this past season?
With the PIAA Team Wrestling tournament over, there's an official bow on the winter sports season in Pennsylvania, with spring sports teeing off across the state.
It was an eventful one in Franklin County despite the pandemic. Here's a look back at some of the highlights in the area, with superlatives for various teams and athletes.
Male Athlete of the Winter
Karl Shindledecker, Chambersburg wrestling: Shindledecker had about as much of a bounce-back season as he could have had in his junior campaign, coming back from a year where he didn't even place in Disticts to coming one takedown away from becoming a state champion. Settling for second place in PIAA, Shindledecker proved he's the cream of the crop at 126 pounds, and is poised for just as big of a senior year.
Runner-up: Jayden Statum, Shippensburg boys basketball
Female Athlete of the Winter
Julia Strine, Shippensburg swimming: In her final season, Strine made sure to leave with gold draped around her shoulders. She swept the postseason, winning the 100 breaststroke at both districts and states, and cementing herself as one of the best swimmers in program history. The graduating senior will head to Ohio University to swim next fall.
Runner-up: Lauren Wetzel, Waynesboro swimming
Greencastle-Antrim boys basketball: Rick Lewis' teams aren't used to losing seasons, but they had one in 2020, going just 2-16 in 2020. But the team bounced back and came within a final game win of earning a District playoff berth. Still, it was a nice year led by seniors Thomas Lewis, Adam Root and Zach Cole, and there's plenty of promise for the future with the way freshman Connor Wright looked as a first-year big men. It looks like Blue Devil boys basketball could very much be back.
Runner-up: Anthony Colangelo, Chambersburg wrestling
Haley Noblit, Greencastle-Antrim girls basketball: Following in the footsteps of her sister Ashley, Noblit provided a scoring punch for a Blue Devil team that had a big year during the strange winter season. Averaging 8 points per game in her first year for a team that contended all season, much can be expected of Noblit moving forward into the rest of her career, pairing along with Mia Libby.
Runner-up: Connor Wright, Greencastle-Antrim basketball
Shippensburg boys basketball: Make no mistake, the Greyhounds had a tremendous season, advancing all the way to the District 3 5A semifinals and just barely falling to Lower Dauphin, which advanced fairly deep in the state tournament after winning the D3 title. But there are multiple angles that could leave Ship fans pondering.
Firstly, what if the state playoff qualifications hadn't just been the District winners? Shippensburg played Lower Dauphin to the final buzzer. They clearly would have been able to compete come states had qualification been what it was in years past. But the even bigger one: what if senior big man Collin Taylor was healthy? It's beyond impressive the Greyhounds had the season they did without their top scorer from a year ago. It's a shame they never got to see what the group would have looked like with him.
Runner-up: Greencastle-Antrim wrestling
Most Likely to make a leap in 2022
James Buchanan girls basketball: The Rockets didn't have the season they wanted, but ended it with a roar, picking up four straight wins to end the year. And they'll have one of the best players in the area returning in MacKenzie Stoner. If Becky Miller's team can keep that end of season momentum going, perhaps with a more normal offseason, JB can turn itself into a force in 4A.
Runner-up: Chambersburg girls basketball